No Shortage of Natural Labs to Study Blue Mind and Green Exercise

Our idyllic blue and green spaces on the West coast of Ireland offer a natural laboratory to explore how our minds respond to nature during exercise and sport activity. The abundance of stunning natural stimuli will first be assessed for visual features and emotional re12903419_10208442916927859_1412051490_osponses like pleasantness and unpleasantness in a series of lab based studies. Eye-tracking technology will be employed to ensure that participants are attending to the stimuli in detail before they make their judgments. Comparisons with urban and the built environment will be c-onducted and  physiological measures will also be used to measure the predicted reduction in stress. Subsequent tests of cognition will evaluate the changes in attention that current theories predict. The strength in our approach is that we will move from the lab to field experiments and natural labs to validate our findings. Uniquely we will measure air quality and environmental factors across our field studies where we will explore unresolved  issues that have been recognized by previous research. Well being and mood which are positively enhanced by our connectedness with nature are a key variable of interest in our research. The idea that green exercise and blue mind can be potentially a treatment has been proposed by previous researchers and this concept is gaining increasing credence. Our partnership with local sport partnerships in Clare, Laois, Limerick, Wicklow and Dublin and our collaboration with Mental Health Ireland will enable our findings to be translated from the academic context to the community level.

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